I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

January 13, 2012

Bebek Betutu, Balinese Duck

My local supermarket trialled a few gourmet items over Christmas.

An influx of hams and smoked chicken was only to be expected, as was a million types of cheese, but the one item I wasn't expecting at our little shop was fresh duck.

Lucky for me, no one else was expecting duck there either, so I was able to buy my little friend here for only $10 instead of about $25. Lucky duck me, and lucky ducky as I decided to give it an Indonesian spice paste treatment and turn it into Bebek Betutu, a yummy Balinese recipe that combines the very best tropical flavours with the savory delicacy of the meat into a rare treat indeed.

Regular Readers may know that I love South East Asian flavours. Fire and heat, fresh and zingy, light and sweet all at once! Thai food is my favorite, and Vietnamese, but Indonesian is catching up fast. I actually have quite a few Indonesian/ Balinese cookbooks and checked them all for this recipe, but ultimately I'm going with the recipe from the Food Safari cookbook, companion to the TV show of the same name on SBS, as it straddled the fine line between totally traditional and doable at home with a good market nearby.

This dish can be cooked in a covered BBQ, or in the oven as I did.

There is a long list of ingredients here, but don't be put off, none of them are terribly expensive, most are available in small quantities, and any not used are able to be frozen. I have quite a stash of frozen bits and pieces in my freezer all in little zippy bags, they last well, grate from fozen and still taste good a couple of months later too.

Bebek Betutu/Balinese Spiced Duck

1 duck
1 cm sliced tumeric
200 grm blanched shredded spinach
1 cinnamon stick
Banana leaves if possible, or baking paper instead

Spice Paste

10 shallots or 2 medium onions
1 head of garlic
4 candle nuts (yes, I have those in the freezer too)
Or macadamia nuts will do
1 cm piece galangal
1 cm piece ginger
1 cm piece tumeric
3 red chillies
1 stem lemongrass(I used 4)
1 tab palm sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seeds
3 tab lime juice
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 tab peanut oil
2 tab water, if needed
3 tsp salt

Preheat BBQ or oven to 160*

For the spice paste, peel and chop where necessary, then place all ingredients for the seasoning paste into a strong blender and blend to a chunky paste.

Mix half the paste with the spinach. For recipes like this I use frozen spinach. Its already washed and chopped, just defrost and squeeze out any excess liquid.

Wash the duck inside and out with tumeric infused water, then stuff spinach spice paste and cinnamon stick into cavity.
(That photo was NOT a good look, thank me for sparing you!)

Rub the rest of the duck with the reserved spice paste, patting it on thickly to coat.

Wrap the duck well in banana leaves or baking paper. I just don't like foil directly touching the meat, somethings it can react with ingredients leaving a funny taste. Now Wrap the wrapped duck well in foil to seal in any cooking juices. Put the little ducky parcel on an oven tray or in a large pot as I did.

Cook the duck at 160* for 2 hours, then drop the temperature to 120* and cook for a further 2 hours.

Take your ducky dinner from the oven and drain any yummy juices into a pan. Simmer until slightly reduced, I also freshened it up with a squeeze of lime once off the heat. Serve alongside duck.

Not too hard at all now was it? Once that paste was done you could just ignore it, for four whole hours, perfect for entertaining!

I served the duck with some yellow rice. A bit of grated ginger, garlic and tumeric,a stem of lemongrass, a pandan leaf, and a couple of kaffir lime leaves- all left from the spice paste ingredients or my freezer stash- chucked in the rice cooker with some rinsed rice, coconut milk and a good pinch of salt.

The duck meat is so tender it just falls off the bone. It steams away happily swimming in spice infused juices. Not tough or stringy,juuuust right. Mmmmmmmmm.....


So Dear Readers, what's your favourite cuisine, and why?



  1. oh my - I bet this was deliciously fragrant too!!!

  2. I love this dish too-it always reminds me of being on holidays. And what a bargain too! :)

  3. This looks amazing! I know the number of ingredients for a good curry paste can be a bit off putting but the fresh flavour from making your own pastes is so much better than bought pastes. GG

  4. Wow, your whole home must have been filled with these wonderful aromas!

    I love Asian cuisine, but I'm not too experienced with the differences among them yet. I'd say that Chinese is my favorite, but that's only because I'm used to it the most. (And it's still not authentic Chinese cuisine but what you get over here, and also there are different cuisines in China ... Gah.) I also like Japanese and Thai, although Japanese is often too salty for my taste and too low in veggies. I love the flavors, but I usually make the dishes at home with more vegetables and only those ingredients I can eat without problems. My own cooking style is kind of fusion, I think.

  5. I probably have never told you how much I love duck. But now, I guess you know. I LOVE IT!! I have never ever prepared it this way, but now I know what I am making for SUnday dinner! This truly looks phenomenal and I can only imagine how it smells while it is cooking.

  6. waw! That's one stylish cooked Balinse duck! I am so impressed, my friend! ;)

  7. i love balinese food! it's amazing. i was so pleasantly surprised when i spent a few weeks in Bali earlier this year. yum yum. your duck looks delicious.

  8. Wow, sounds so fragrant and lush - juicy too!

  9. You are indeed lucky! We can never get duck where I live. This recipe sounds delicious!

  10. score! it seems the ducks are not as popular with the masses yet. I have only recently cooked with duck, and not a whole one. I cooked it french style. I just love the idea of this balinese duck! absolutely stunning!! favourite cuisine, oh I've had this conversation many times before :) So I know my answer but I say it while also still lusting for other cuisines. But no, I'd have to settle on Italian. Simple, rustic, stunning.
    Heidi xo

  11. wow this duck looks amazing I love Asian flavors too :-)

  12. Malaysian! Because so many things are classified as Malaysian :) Oh and you did all this with one hand!! Amazing!

  13. What a great recipe. And you were able to buy your ducky at such a bargain price. Well done! I can just imagine that after four hours of cooking the meat would have so easily fallen from the bone and been so soft and tender. I will definitely try this. On my way out to find me a bargain ducky!

  14. I bet that smelled like heaven as it was cooking!
    I love anything with spice in... Indian, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese (all those wonderful herbs!)...

  15. Could you do this with a chook instead?

  16. Your duck dish look pretty fantastic - and what a bargain, too!
    I love most cuisines, but absolutely adore Middle Eastern and Moroccan food. I've yet to meet a dish spiced with cumin that I didn't like!

  17. I too adore South East Asian flavours, namely Vietnamese :-) It's hard to eat many dishes though as I'm vegetarian, but the ones I can eat, I love!

  18. I want to cook this and I will cook it, it's just there's a supply problem with ducks at the moment and I was told yesterday we probably won't see any of the shelves for at least another 4 weeks. Christmas must have wiped out there population!

  19. Omg, you did all this with one hand? I tip my hat to you! It looks lovely by the way, and I know Stephen's going to want to recreate this (he has an unhealthy relationship with duck).

  20. Hi my name is Jem,I a fellow food blogger and foodie:) I found your blog through a comment you left on SMB's blog. I recognised this dish from looking at the photos then I read your post and saw it was what I suspected:) I own the same book and I adore the show but I have'nt made anything from the book yet. This post has inspired me, so thank you :) Looking forward to reading and following your blog.
    Love Jem

  21. You're embarrassing me my friend...
    You're a foreigner and nkow mush more better than i'm as native Indonesian....
    i can barely taste your passsion then.....
    well done!

  22. I too am a lover of South East Asian food and are just starting to get into traditional balinese flavour after being pleasantly surprised by their cuisine on a recent trip. I have copied most of your recipe here for tonight's dinner, but just found our neighbour's banana tree has been chopped down so I'll use the baking paper option. Thanks for your idea with the rice, I'm going to serve mine with beans with a garlic and chilli paste and roasted root vegetables.

  23. I too am a lover of South East Asian food and are just starting to get into traditional balinese flavour after being pleasantly surprised by their cuisine on a recent trip. I have copied most of your recipe here for tonight's dinner, but just found our neighbour's banana tree has been chopped down so I'll use the baking paper option. Thanks for your idea with the rice, I'm going to serve mine with beans with a garlic and chilli paste and roasted root vegetables.